Howl Questions and Answers
by Allen Ginsberg

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In Ginsberg's "Howl," how would you characterize the world that Ginsberg describes? Is he being accurate or is he using hyperbole (exaggeration)? How does he demonstrate the postmodern beliefs of combining fiction and nonfiction, multiculturalism, and the experimentation of new forms?

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Jason Lulos eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I'd say Ginsberg was describing the world as he saw it and to make his vision graphic and to convey the images as vivid as possible he did use hyperbole. His descriptions for the most part are realistic - based on actual occurrences. The reference to throwing potato salad at CCNY lecturers on Dadaismis about his friend Carl Solomon, who he met in a mental institution, and to whom the poem was dedicated. When the poem does describe surreal or seemingly hyperbolic images, this could be a reference to the hallucinogenic effect of drugs, (Ginsberg was in favor of recreational use) or those images were just exaggerated to give the poem more punch.

Figures of speech and metaphor have always been used in poetry. I understand that the question asked here is because Ginsberg is describing the problems in American society which have led to conformity, fear mongering and...

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